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WHY NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT SANTORINI

The late summer of 2020 offers a unique chance to visit Santorini and experience its stunning delights in peacefulness.

Tranquil, serene, and above all safe,; Santorini holds out a special welcome for those wishing to embark on the Aegean journey this year.

The village of Oia, one of the most photographed destinations on earth for its beauty, is on your doorstep at Santo Maris. Fira, the island’s usually bustling capital (a lot calmer this summer), trickles into the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli (the highest point of the caldera edge) and the delightful path that runs through these villages is lined with cafe and restaurant terraces – found in peacefulness this year.

Santorini delights
Beyond serene relaxation by our sun-kissed swimming pools, and sampling Santorini’s fine gastronomy, walking the caldera edge and taking in the breathtaking views is perhaps the most popular pastime for any visitor. A gentle stroll around Fira is spectacular, particularly heading north to Firostefani and Imerovigli along the caldera-edge pathway.

Wine tastings
Santorini is a wine lover’s paradise and most renowned for its crisp dry whites and the amber- coloured dessert wine Vinsanto. Both are made from and indigenous grape variety, Assyrtiko. Many vineyards, some dating back to the 19th century, host tastings and the award-winning Domaine Sigalas in Baxes is the closest to Santo Maris. For more details on the best boutique wineries check out [https://blog.santomaris.gr/2018/01/18/ little-boutique-wineries-santorini/]

Beyond the caldera
There is always more to find in Santorini. The laid-back east coast is less visited than the west, with black sand beaches, sun-beds, water sports, and taverna-lined promenades. Red beach, located near Akrotiri village and just a few steps away from the famous prehistoric site, is one of the most scenic beaches you can find on the Island. Beyond the beach there’s more. The island’s interior is dotted with pretty vineyards and colourful traditional villages like Pyrgos that show a glimpse of an older, simpler Santorini life.

The great outdoors
Few Mediterranean destinations offer such a diversity of activities in such a stunning natural environment as Santorini. On land, hiking and horse riding offer the chance to explore parts of Santorini ‘off the beaten track’, and in the azure and pristine waters of the caldera and beyond, enthusiasts of diving, windsurfing and sailing will be richly rewarded. Find out more [https:// blog.santomaris.gr/2020/05/28/santorini-postcard-escape-nature/]

Tours
Santorini has a huge variety of tours available including winery visits, archaeology tours, sunset- watching and more. One of the most popular options is a cruise of the caldera’s volcanic islands Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni. An exhilarating dip from a boat on a caldera cruise is an unforgettable experience.

From August 2020, Santorini and Santo Maris are ready to welcome you – a sunlit haven of peace and privacy.

Ferries and high-speed catamarans link Santorini with Athens’ port of Piraeus, Crete and the Cycladic islands. Santorini Airport has year-round flight connections with Athens and direct European connections have been reinstated since July 2020.

Photo Tours: An Alternative Way to Explore Santorini

Is there a better way to discover this amazing crescent-shaped isle than to explore it looking through the camera’s lens? Santorini, or Thíra since ancient times, is actually a small group of islands including Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, and Palea and Nea Kaméni. Dazzling for their sunset vistas and traditional Cycladic white houses, blue-domed churches, and hilltop windmills, the island group is one of the most photographed places on Earth.

From picturesque Fira, the capital of Santorini, to the stunning volcanic beaches at the base of the island, this place is a photographer’s dream come true. Take Fira, along with Oia perched high up on the rim of the famous volcanic caldera. The uniqueness of the geography where mountain and sea meet is simply breathtaking. Professionals and amateurs flock to Imerovígli and Firostefáni, also located high above on the cliffs that make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow,” which is, in fact, the balcony of Santorini.
Some companies offering photo tours of Santorini are creative enough to combine two or three activities to make the experience truly remarkable. For instance, wine tasting and photography tours – the two make sense because the vineyards of the island have unique character considering the history and background, the architecture, the way grapes are cultivated etc.

The seaside is another treasure of the island. The deep blue waters, the red, and black volcanic sand beaches, the amazing rock formations, and the moonscapes are other-worldly. You can book a photo-tour to volcanic Milos, to capture the sun playing off the arches around the central caldera or the surrealistic rock formations that islet is known for. Or perhaps, a digital magazine of photos of picturesque villages is what you seek? Milos, Santorini, and the other islands are a perfect choice for this, and for its geology, hot springs, and wild goats even.

Photo tours of Santorini also help visitors experiencing this beautiful island. Surveying the landscapes, getting to know the customs and the environment, being part of the cultural fabric of the place, these and more aspect are good reasons to integrate photo tours into your agenda. Santorini is a creative paradise and a cultural and learning one as well.

You can take part in every conceivable photography tour here on Santorini. There are boat tours, underwater photographic tours, night sky photo escapades, romantic sunset photo sessions, walking photo tours, and tours where you get your own personal, professional photographer.

Santorini is so beautiful that even amateur images captured with a smartphone camera can look like something out of a magazine.

Cover photo: by Kyler Boone on Unsplash

10 Things to Do in Oia, Santorini

A delicious combination of volcanic cliffs, bright bougainvillea in bloom, and sparkling white clifftop cave-style houses with blue rooftops, against the turquoise of the Mediterranean, Oia is the very symbol of Santorini, and the most photographed destination on the island. But there’s more to this village than meets the eye in travel brochures and postcards. It’s a special place, with mystic charm, favored by people from all over the world, who come here to take in the breathtaking views over the Caldera. It’s heavily touristic, and yet, paradoxically, an oasis of peace, the perfect spot on earth to come and recharge your batteries. Here are the things we think you should do during your stay, to make your experience truly memorable:

1. See the Famous Sunset

Our own hotel, the Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa, offers a perfect location for watching the sunset: right next to the famous cliffs of the Sunset Seranade point. So you can take in the spectacular colors and the breeze without leaving our premises, secluded from the tourist crowds. Many tourists prefer the vantage point at the Castle of Oia to see the sunset.

santo_maris_oia_sunset

2. Take a Donkey Ride from Ammoudie Bay to Oia

Donkey rides are the favored transportation means for the locals, and they are becoming increasingly popular among tourists too, despite concerns by animal welfare organizations that the trips could exhaust the animals, and that some owners are mishandling them. It’s hard to make a fair assessment whether an animal is mishandled by its owner or not, so if you have a problem with this, you can always hike. It’s good to stay in shape.

oia mules
Donkey rides in Oia By User: Bgabel at wikivoyage, CC BY-SA 3.0

3. Hike from Oia to Fira

It may not be as spectacular as Oia, but Fira has its special charm too – and it is also the capital of the island. The path is not marked, but it is pretty obvious: just follow the edge of the caldera and walk south. It may take you up to five hours to reach Fira if you don’t rush your pace, so leave early if you don’t want to spend the night there. The views along the way are glorious, so don’t forget your camera.

Fira

4. Explore Oia’s Stairways and Hidden Paths

Oia is never boring: just explore its pathways to discover something rewarding every time, including see-for-miles viewpoints with out-of-this-world vistas.

oia walks

5. Take a Sailing Tour Across the Caldera

There are several boats and catamarans offering tours on the caldera from the Ammoudi Bay. It’s a romantic experience if you visit Oia as a couple, but it can also be a fun experience when you are joined by cheerful friends. You will see Santorini’s finest: the volcano, the hot springs, the lighthouse, the Indian Rock, the beaches, Mesa Pigadia, and much more. The sunset cruises with dinner offered by Santorini Sailing are the most popular.

sunset santorini

6. Go for a Swim in the Ammoudi Bay

This is one of the most famous spots for swimming in Santorini, mainly favored by adrenaline junkies, who like to take a plunge from the massive boulder in the waters of the Ammoudi Bay.

Ammoudi
Ammoudi Bay By Klearchos Kapoutsis from Santorini, Greece (Ammoudi) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Go Shopping for Local Crafts

It would be a pity to leave Oia without a souvenir, and while many shops cater to the general crowds, offering overpriced trinkets, there are also many stores selling gorgeous pottery, and local crafts. Explore Oia enough to find them.

Tourists in Oia

8. Visit Oia’s Charming Churches

For a few moments of hard-earned downtime, step inside one of Oia’s beautiful little churches. They are peaceful most of the times, except for when a traditional “panigyri” (village party) is organized, with food and drinks, and welcoming smiles for foreigners who want to join. But even if you don’t catch a “panigyri”, go to admire outstanding, valuable iconography and other objects of Greek Orthodox religious art.

church oia

9. Sunbathe at Baxedes Beach

Baxedes is a quiet black pebbly beach, just 3 km away from Oia. It is peaceful and less touristy than others, and close to other, more popular beaches, like Paradise or Cape Columbo. This is the beach to experience what Oia used to be before the tourist invasion.

Baxedes beach - Santorini, Photo by: Feel Greece
Baxedes beach – Santorini, Photo by: Feel Greece

10. Enjoy Local Wines

What would your stay in Oia be without the delicate taste of local wines? You can always book a wine tasting tour, or visit Domaine Sigalas on Oia’s Baxedes plain for wine tastings with views of Santorini’s amazing sunsets.

Domaine Sigalas